FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/6/23

Because it's much simpler to predict than baseball or football, basketball daily fantasy would get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right?

Well, as a result, NBA daily fantasy is extremely reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to make sure that you're up-to-date with key injuries. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, we have player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's break down today's main slate on FanDuel.

The Slate

Away Home Game


I'm starting with forward today because the biggest opportunity cost for tonight's slate centers on Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000). Antetokounmpo is projected for 57.9 FanDuel points in numberFire's model. Nikola Jokic ($11,300) is close by at 57.1 and thus makes for the better value; however, Giannis is harder to replace among forwards than Jokic is relative to other bigs.

Antetokounmpo plays the Charlotte Hornets, who are 26th in defensive rating on the season. Against four teams in the bottom 10 defensively and in games without Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo is averaging 1.90 FanDuel points per minute and 58.8 per game, so, yeah, we'll want some Giannis tonight.

You can make the case for pivoting to LeBron James ($11,200) in the game with the highest total of the night or Kevin Durant ($10,600) in another game that should yield points. Combined, Antetokounmpo (42.1%), James (19.5%), and Durant (14.4%) comprise 76.0% of the top-scoring outings among forwards in my slate simulations for this slate.

Where else can we go?

Keldon Johnson ($6,800) projects well against the lowly Detroit Pistons defense. Detroit ranks 29th defensively for the year. Johnson's a 1.09-FanDuel-point-per-minute producer against bottom-10 defenses, up from 0.95 against all other opponents.

Sticking with the San Antonio Spurs, we can also roster Jeremy Sochan ($5,100) in this promising matchup. He's putting up just 0.76 FanDuel points per minute against bottom-third defenses but projects for 31.2 minutes, a number hard to scoff at for the salary. His value rating (projected FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary) is a robust 5.59.

New Orleans Pelicans teammates Naji Marshall ($4,800) and Trey Murphy III ($4,700) again project well with New Orleans thinned out. They make for a good stack candidate with Durant when we're trying to differentiate. In five games with Marshall and Murphy active but without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, Marshall has averaged 32.0 minutes and 25.1 FanDuel points; Murphy III has averaged 33.0 minutes and 27.3 FanDuel points.

Others to Consider: Kyle Kuzma ($7,700), Tobias Harris ($6,600), Mikal Bridges ($6,100), Kyle Anderson ($5,400), Troy Brown Jr. ($3,800)


I'm jumping to the bigs next because of -- primarily -- Nikola Jokic ($11,300). There's no Joel Embiid on the slate, so Jokic has a big gap on the field, similar to Giannis. Jokic, though, is 36.5% likely to lead all bigs in FanDuel points, per my simulations.

His matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers is a lot trickier than what the Milwaukee Bucks draw. Cleveland ranks first in defensive rating and seventh in rebounding rate. Against teams 11th or worse defensively, Jokic averages 1.66 FanDuel points per minute. Against top-10 squads, that's down a tick to 1.59 -- over just seven matchups (with just two against top-five defenses). He's still a great play and does rival Giannis, but if given the choice of one, I'm leaning toward Antetokounmpo.

A trio of Julius Randle ($10,100), Pascal Siakam ($9,600), and Kristaps Porzingis ($9,300) all rate out well enough on their own, though, so we're not locked into Jokic. Of the three, they rank as Porzingis, Siakam, and Randle -- once accounting for salary.

In 13 games without Bradley Beal, Porzingis has averaged 32.5 minutes and 42.8 FanDuel points; numberFire's model projects him for 35.2 minutes and 46.4 fantasy points tonight. He's definitely a core-level play. Teammate Daniel Gafford ($5,400) is another big who projects well against the Oklahoma City Thunder. numberFire's model gives him a value projection of 5.82, the second-best of the night. Gafford, in eight starts, has averaged 24.4 minutes and 25.7 FanDuel points for 1.05 per minute.

If dropping down for power forwards and centers, we can go -- once again -- to Onyeka Okongwu ($6,200) in a high-scoring matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. Clint Capela remains sidelined, and in 11 games without him, Okongwu has averaged 32.4 minutes and 30.2 FanDuel points. His 5.75 value rating ranks him third among all players.

Others to Consider: Jakob Poeltl ($6,500), John Collins ($6,500), Thomas Bryant ($6,300), Ivica Zubac ($6,400), Mark Williams ($4,300), Mike Muscala ($3,900)


A guard-first build will likely be pretty different tonight. You can anchor your lineups with James Harden ($10,200) and/or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,000), but I don't think it's the first or second option.

A big reason for it is that we have those large opportunity costs for Giannis and Jokic but also that we have a good amount of value among the guards.

Killian Hayes ($6,000) holds a 21.4% usage rate and averages 0.96 FanDuel points per minute over 592.4 minutes with both Cade Cunningham and Marvin Bagley III off the floor, via CourtIQ. numberFire's model is projecting Hayes for a heavy 33.6 minutes and 31.3 FanDuel points (for a value rating of 5.22) against the Spurs, who are 30th in defensive rating.

Terry Rozier ($6,500) would work as a game-stack partner with Antetokounmpo. The Hornets are set to be without Gordon Hayward (doubtful) and Kelly Oubre (out). Without them on the floor, Rozier's usage rate is 30.6%, and he generates 0.97 FanDuel points per minute. Over 74.1 minutes with LaMelo Ball ($9,600) on the floor with him (but without Hayward and Oubre), Rozier still has a 27.4% usage rate and has been very efficient (1.17 FanDuel points per minute). Ball's numbers in that split are 32.2% and 1.26, respectively, and he acts as a higher-salaried stack with Giannis.

Andrew Nembhard ($4,300) once again holds a very good per-dollar projection in numberFire's model. He is the only player early in the day to have a projected value north of 6.00 (it's 6.07). The Indiana Pacers face the Portland Trail Blazers in a high-scoring matchup. In seven starts against other bottom-10 defenses, Nembhard has averaged 27.1 minutes and 21.9 FanDuel points.

Others to Consider: Damian Lillard ($9,100), C.J. McCollum ($8,400), Tre Jones ($6,100), Anfernee Simons ($6,200), Tyrese Maxey ($7,100), Dennis Schroder ($5,600)